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Old 6th July 2019, 07:32 PM   #31
Henk
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When we unsheath the sheathed keris, the point is to the sky. First vivisble is the gonjo. Then we look upwards at the blade ending at the point.

Counting luks ends also at the point of the blade. So for me the end is the point the beginning the gonjo.
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Old 6th July 2019, 10:31 PM   #32
A. G. Maisey
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Thank you Joe, and thank you Henk.
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Old 7th July 2019, 10:37 AM   #33
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I don't know where there is the beginning of the blade . I always look at the blade as a whole and, passively, I feel if there is a feeling
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Old 7th July 2019, 11:57 AM   #34
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Hello Alan,
The big end is for me the beginning of the blade!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 7th July 2019, 02:23 PM   #35
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Thank you Marco and Detlef
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Old 8th July 2019, 05:17 AM   #36
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I've found a few minutes to do a summary of the ideas we have to date.

What I find is that we have the beginning of the blade voted for as follows:-

Big End, I'm thinking of this as the whole of the sor-soran = 2 votes
Little End, the point = 2 votes
Pesi = 4 votes, or possibly 5 or 6 votes
Gonjo = 4 votes
No precise point or location at all = 3 votes

Jean, to clarify, when you say "the tip of the pesi", do you mean the end of the pesi, or do you mean where the pesi joins the blade?

I am hoping that we can get at least two more opinions before moving on.

EDIT

I've been turning this diversity of opinion over in my mind, and I have come to the conclusion that, just as with the keris itself, there is not really much hope of an overwhelming weight of opinion one way or another. Not even with another few votes thrown into the ring. I feel that we might need to move forward without too much more delay.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 8th July 2019 at 07:35 AM. Reason: a further thought
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Old 8th July 2019, 08:40 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Jean, to clarify, when you say "the tip of the pesi", do you mean the end of the pesi, or do you mean where the pesi joins the blade?


Hello Alan,
I mean the end of the pesi. However I would not mind that my vote be also included as "no precise point at all"
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Old 8th July 2019, 09:26 AM   #38
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Thanks Jean, noted.
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Old 8th July 2019, 09:15 PM   #39
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Hello Alan,

2 more votes? I can offer 4 to 5...


I do like Bob’s suggestion a lot. However, playing advocatus diaboli, I’d rather opt for the core of the blade than the surface since the latter is bound to change from erosion, cleaning and any restoration attempts while the essence is bound to persist.

If not restricted to any material part of the keris, I go for the makers mind though.


Quote:
I was thinking in very simple terms, as I said when I asked the question, I'm just looking for opinions, and I'm not being technical.What I would like to achieve, if possible is a group opinion that is weighted more one way than the other,whichever way that might be.

So Bob, if you were to take off your philosopher's hat, and just take a simple layman's position, where do you think this object that we know as a keris might begin?

Where does a Naga begin? Where does a knife begin? Where does a human begin? If pressed to decide for a part of the body of the latter, most highly educated folks nowadays would probably opt for the head while the “heart” will likely be the response of really wise individuals.

If pressed for any anatomical answer, this question pretty much is a non-sequitur: A beginning implies a temporal connotation (like an historical origin, a birth or creator’s act, a start for reading, etc.). I’m sure Alan is getting at something - however, if the question is merely trying to narrow down on a particular part of any keris, I’d posit that the question certainly wasn’t simple and, especially, not phrased well enough...

Also perceived (main) function of the keris will influence which part may get selected. My idiosyncratic anatomical choice might be the base of the blade, especially both sogokan, if present. Or the jenggot and greneng for reading the blade - this opens another can of worms though!

Regards,
Kai

Last edited by kai : 9th July 2019 at 05:51 AM. Reason: Senior moment corrected - thanks, David!
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Old 8th July 2019, 09:50 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kai
My idiosyncratic anatomical choice might be the base of the blade, especially both sorsoran, if present.

Can we assume you meant to say sogokan, since the sorsoran MUST be present (as it actually is the whole of the base of the blade) and there can only be one, while sogokan may be present and there could very well be two if it is (though sometimes only one).
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Old 9th July 2019, 01:11 AM   #41
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Thank you Kai, your opinion was one of the ones I have been looking for, and I will respond to your post before going to the destination I intended when I asked my opening question, which was this:-

What I would like to know is this:-

on a keris blade, where is the beginning of the blade?

Is it the point, one side or another, or is it somewhere else?


It was phrased as a simple, direct question, and during the course of this discussion I have repeated that it was intended in a simple sense a couple of times, repetition that should not have been necessary, because as a part of the question I gave an example that clarifies perfectly what I had in mind. One does not provide physically related examples if one is looking for philosophically based answers.

In fact, there is a correct answer to this question, it is an answer that I have known for many years, I've never wheeled it out before, for the simple reason that it is only one piece of trivia amongst many and I doubt that there has ever been a reason to put the record straight. However, I made reference to it in one of my recent catalogue descriptions, and a friend who saw the catalogue text when I was still preparing it suggested that I should put it up into the Warung. So I am doing that now.

Scroll down and look at the picture I have posted.

This is a copy taken from Ensiklopedi. I think everybody here will recognise this pamor, it is Batu Lapak, sometimes the name will be given as Watu Lapak, but that is just a peculiarity of the Javanese language, "B" and "W" can be interchanged at the wish of the speaker or writer, usually to create a more pleasant spoken delivery.

I cannot remember ever seeing the name of this pamor given as anything other than Batu Lapak. Every keris literate person whom I know in Jawa gives the name as Batu Lapak. There can be no argument about what name we use for this pamor, it is Batu Lapak.

It is a name that is easily understood, "batu" or "watu" means stone or rock in Bahasa Indonesia, Malay, Javanese, Sundanese, it is a word that everybody who has spent five minutes with Bahasa Indonesia knows, probably one of the first words that is learnt when learning any of these languages. "Batu" does not seem to appear in either Old Javanese or in Modern Balinese, so it has probably come into BI, Modern Javanese, and Sundanese from Malay. The form of pamor batu lapak looks a bit like a little rock that has been set into the very base of a keris blade. Batu lapak pamor is only found in one place on a keris blade, directly below the pesi, in the sor-soran.

So that is the "batu" part of the name, but what about the "lapak" part?

Well, "lapak" is not Bahasa Indonesia, nor is it Malay, it does occur in Sundanese, where it is understood as "a mark, or a trace", it does not occur in Balinese.

But in Javanese we do find "lapak", and the meaning of lapak is "saddle", so clearly the meaning of "batu lapak" is "saddle stone".

Or is it?

This name has always troubled me. A saddle stone? What sort of stone is that? Or does it mean a stone saddle? Or a stone that is put into a saddle? I'm not the greatest horseman in the world, but I have spent one hell of a long time on bicycle saddles, and sorry, but I just cannot reconcile the idea of a stone being anything at all to do with a saddle.

So being the inquisitive sort of bloke that I am I started asking questions, and I started to get some different sort of answers to exactly what the word "lapak" means. Certainly it means "saddle", a saddle, the sort of saddle you put on a horse. But it has other meanings as well, the two that I got given back to me most often were that lapak means "after this", or "after that", in the sense that "after I finish this I'll start that", and "a beginning".

Not only am I inquisitive, but I have a tendency to doubt everything, so when I get given explanations and meanings of things, I usually like to check those explanations and meanings, just to make sure I understand what I've been told, and to check that the person who told me is in fact giving me something that is reasonably accurate. So I checked a number of dictionaries to see if I could find this idea of "beginning" or "starting" attached to the word "lapak".

What I found was really quite illuminating. I have access to a number Javanese dictionaries, in most of these dictionaries "lapak" is given the one simple meaning of "saddle", but in the most authoritative Javanese dictionary that I have access to it is given the additional meanings of "after that/this", and "the beginning" ( in Javanese of course, it is a dictionary for Javanese people, see photo).

So now if we consider the pamor name "Batu Lapak" we must consider whether "saddle stone" is the correct understanding or if "beginning stone" might perhaps be a more accurate understanding of this "Batu Lapak" name.

Personally, my vote goes to "Beginning Stone" I think "Saddle Stone" is about as wrong as it can be and has been wrong for a long time.

If "beginning stone" is correct, then of course that name identifies the place where the actual keris, the wilah, the symbol of Siwa and of masculinity begins, and it is right at the point where the pesi meets the wilah.

Now who voted for that?
It was Dr. David I believe, and I do not think that the good doctor knows one word of Javanese, he simply thought about it and applied logic, and presented a straight-forward, simple answer. Even if he does know a little bit of Javanese it is almost certain that he would not know this obscure use of the word "lapak".

I find this idea of batu lapak as an indication of the point where the wilah begins, to be very interesting in another way also. In modern times most keris blades either have the pesi forged in, or cut in, but in old blades the pesi was often attached to the wilah after the wilah had been forged, and this act of attaching the wilah created a batu lapak. So yes, the place where the pesi meets the wilah is indeed the beginning of the wilah.

But pause for a moment and envisage in your mind's eye what an upright wilah that has no pesi looks like. It is a mountain, it is the Gunungan, it is Mount Kailas, it is Mount Meru, it is the iconic Siwa.

And just exactly what is the Keris?
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Old 9th July 2019, 06:56 AM   #42
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Thanks a lot, Alan, for your elucidation!

When focusing on Mount Meru, it may still be a matter of perspective (eagle vs mountaineer), function (temple site for a Shiva devotee vs magma chamber for a volcano), etc. While the latter image seems to fit quite nicely, we can drop it from closer consideration, I guess. I agree that your interpretation makes a lot of sense.


Quote:
I find this idea of batu lapak as an indication of the point where the wilah begins, to be very interesting in another way also. In modern times most keris blades either have the pesi forged in, or cut in, but in old blades the pesi was often attached to the wilah after the wilah had been forged, and this act of attaching the wilah created a batu lapak. So yes, the place where the pesi meets the wilah is indeed the beginning of the wilah.

Do you have any example of this old-style attachment that you could show, please? I know the repair (or original attachment) method which leaves a rectangular mark at the base if cut in neatly. Still a pretty far cry from a typical batu lapak - thus, a picture would be really kind!

Regards,
Kai
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Old 9th July 2019, 08:37 AM   #43
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Kai, would you please explain exactly what you mean by "your interpretation".

In what I have written I can see nothing that has originated with me, all I have done is to carry a message from people who have one understanding to people who have either no understanding, or a different understanding.

So please, exactly what is my interpretation?

As for Mount Meru or Mount Kailas, well, eagles, mountain climbers, magma chambers are simply not a part of the conversation.

Yes, I do have some examples of a batu lapak being formed by attachment of a pesi, but I'm not going to go looking for them, because as you know, I do not post pictures of my own keris on this Forum.
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Old 9th July 2019, 05:36 PM   #44
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Hello Alan,

I did choose the word interpretation as not to underestimate your contribution and kind efforts. If this notion doesn’t vibe with you, I apologize. Just fill in any word that you prefer...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 9th July 2019, 11:01 PM   #45
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Thank you for your response Kai.

Yeah, the idea of "interpretation" attached to the translation of "lapak" did not sit well with me, because my understanding of the word "interpret" was not as broad as I have now found it should be: my understanding was too narrow, your understanding was more correct.

It is actually quite fortunate that you used this word "interpretation", because the variation in the way in which we both understood the word, as well as the fact that you are not a native English speaker, I am a native English speaker, and my ability to write clear and precise English has in fact been a mainstay of my income stream during my entire life.

In other words, it doesn't matter how good one thinks he is, how correct he thinks he is, he can always be wrong. Just like the person who gave us "saddle stone" for "batu lapak", whoever that person may have been.

We have created an excellent example that supports the way in which "batu lapak" should be understood in this context.

When there is any doubt about the use of a particular word in English, my first check is almost invariably with the Oxford on Historical Principles; during my lifetime I've worn out one edition of two volumes of this, and I'm well on track to make the replacement copy unusable. Oxford gives "interpret" as "expound, translate, explain" --- as well as a full column more.

Your use of "interpretation" was correct, my understanding of your use of the word was inadequate. I apologise for taking issue with your use of the word.
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Old 11th July 2019, 07:51 PM   #46
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I'm avoiding looking at any of the replies so that I won't be biased (by anything other than my current knowledge and views) in giving my answer.

For me the bilah starts at the ganja.
Seeing the bilah as a representation of a kayonan or gunungan, it seems logical that the gonjo is the root from where the rest of the blade grows or the base on which it rests.
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Old 13th July 2019, 01:04 AM   #47
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Bjorn, I asked the initial question as a simple question, and we got back a mix of simple, uncomplicated answers, and philosophical answers. I would say that you have given us a simple answer.

I think that going back a few years to before I found the true understanding of "Batu Lapak" my answer would have been the same as yours, I would have been thinking in terms of male/female, lingga/yoni, Dewi Ganga, and so on. In fact, even though on the face of things an opinion that the gonjo is the beginning of the keris blade, in reality, that opinion becomes a philosophical opinion if we ask why the gonjo is the base of the blade. The only way we can defend the opinion is by taking a philosophical position and arguing from that base.

On the other hand, the Batu Lapak is directly under the pesi, and in some early keris it was actually a product of attaching the pesi to the wilah, so if we think about this, we might feel inclined to ask exactly what is meant by the idea of a "beginning stone". Taking account of the position of the Batu Lapak, we could perhaps find several different and equally valid opinions of the "beginning" of a keris blade.
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Old 13th July 2019, 02:46 AM   #48
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To me, with no knowledge of the deep lore of keris symbology, the ganja can represent a saddle in that it is a transition point from vehicle (handle/hand) to rider (blade). So instead of a stone as an obstruction between butt and seat perhaps, in this analogy, the stone can be the rider itself at this transition (beginning) point where servant stops and master starts which is clearly a place of power. However as, presumably, the ganja is not called a saddle in other contexts this interpretation is quite a stretch but can point to how saddle and beginning can be synonymous.
As an aside I did a Google image search for Batu Lapak to see examples and found that it also refers to an unusual hard scale at the base of some chicken feet. If the Google translate captures the meaning correctly it is believed to provide a major advantage in a cock fight in what seems to be somewhat talismanic manner.
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Old 15th July 2019, 01:50 PM   #49
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Thank you for your contribution Dizos.

Certainly a rather interesting and divergent opinion, but I do have more than a little difficulty in seeing any relevance to the keris. Still, as you say, the keris is well outside your own area of speciality.

In respect of the cock fight association, I just ran that image search myself and if I read the text associated with the images I find most text seems to be Malay or Indonesian. In fact, the idea of "batu lapak" associated with a fighting cock's feet has no relationship at all to the idea of batu lapak associated with keris, either as "saddle stone", or as "beginning".

The palm of the hand, or the sole of the foot is the "telapak". The word "lapak" actually carries a connotation of the lower part of something, so sole of the foot, being at the bottom, has become "telapak". Horse's hoof = "telapak kuda".

This "batu lapak" associated with fighting cocks is a hard callous on the bottom of a fighting cock's foot, it has the appearance of an implanted stone in the bottom of the fowl's foot. Batu = stone.

In a fighting cock a "batu lapak" is a "sole of the foot stone", or just simply a "foot stone".

No relationship to keris at all.

But then, maybe there is a relationship, and to follow this idea, it is best to understand that in the Javanese mind, more is better:- a multitude of deities is better than a single deity, and a multitude of meanings is better than a single meaning.

Now, I've already pointed out that the word "lapak" carries the connotation of the lowest part of anything. The lower part of the wilah is the sor-soran, and sor-soran also has a connotation of "low", in fact in ordinary speech, not keris jargon, "sor-soran" means "subordinate".

Now included in the sor-soran is a characteristic that sometimes appears called the "tungkakan", "tungkak" means "heel", "tungkakan" means "heel (of something)". The "tungkakan" is the little bend in the wilah that sits under the buntut urang of the gonjo. So looking at the lowest part of the keris we have this heel, and stretching across the blade in front of it? Well, although it is not named in keris related terminology, that straight line would have to be the telapak, the sole of the foot of the keris. So, if we see a batu in the middle of this "sole" , what else can it be but a "batu lapak"?

Batu lapak most certainly can be understood as "beginning stone", but if we look at the tungkakan, and pause to think for just one moment, maybe "batu lapak" can also be understood as "foot stone". Obviously one understanding does not necessarily negate the other:- the more meanings that can be given to anything, the better the understanding.

Consider for a moment:- not only is the sole of the foot the beginning of a man, but of any being that walks, and the beginning of anything is the lowest part of any endeavour.

A little bit like "aum" and "Allah" and "ron dha". The understanding that is appropriate to the level of knowledge.

Last edited by A. G. Maisey : 15th July 2019 at 02:38 PM.
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